Sunday 15 December 2019

Jones hails Jane Hawking's bravery

Eddie Redmayne with director James Marsh and co-star Felicity Jones at the premiere of The Theory Of Everything in Toronto
Eddie Redmayne with director James Marsh and co-star Felicity Jones at the premiere of The Theory Of Everything in Toronto

Felicity Jones has said she thinks Stephen Hawking and his ex-wife Jane are brave for letting a film be made about their relationship.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actress stars with Eddie Redmayne in The Theory Of Everything, James Marsh's biopic about the early life of the English theoretical physicist and cosmologist which was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Felicity said of playing Jane when she knew she would watch the film: "It's terrifying, absolutely petrifying, especially as Jane and Stephen were so closely involved.

"Jane leant me clothes that we used in the film, she was so supportive .

"But we talk about how frightening it was for us [as actors] but actually I think for her it must have been much more so.

"That's how brave they are that even in their seventies they are willing to have a film made about the intimate details of their life."

Eddie confessed he was so nervous when he first met Stephen he blurted out all the research he had done on the physicist's life to the man himself.

The Les Miserables star said: "It was totally unreal. I'd spent six months reading and watching everything he had ever written, done, filmed, and then I finally got to meet the man himself.

"I suffer from verbal diarrhoea, as you can probably tell, and I just basically spent 20 minutes telling Stephen Hawking about Stephen Hawking, and he was like 'I know. I am Stephen Hawking.' But once I actually calmed down a bit, he was incredibly generous and wonderful."

Felicity had to revise physics theory for a scene in the film when she gives a lesson, but confessed she understood "none of it".

She added: "I loved doing that scene, I actually just rehearsed it for ages and ages at home, because I wanted to get it completely right.

"At the time I feel like I know what I was talking about, but I probably couldn't tell you anything now. It's sort of left my mind!"

Director James revealed Stephen's involvement in the film had meant a great deal to him.

He revealed: "His involvement was reading the script, giving us his understated approval for the script, offering us some of his medals and posters and trophies we were able to put in the set. And when the film was finished we showed him the film and he then offered me his voice.

"It changed the film in a really interesting way, for me personally. It nudged it into verisimilitude , even more than we'd achieved already. That felt like an endorsement and a gift that he was offering."

And he heaped praise on Felicity and Eddie's performances in the film.

James said: "The hard work was obviously done by Eddie. His achievement is not just being disabled in a wheelchair, it's being able-bodied, and then being lame and then being on one stick, and two sticks and in a wheelchair . That's enormously difficult and he had to work for months to get all that internalised, so that when we came to shoot the film it was just there."

PA Media

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